I have been teaching in art and design for 30 years, was Programme Director of the Foundation Art & Design course at Swansea from 2004 – 2016, and have otherwise taught into a number of fine art and photography courses at undergraduate and post-graduate level. I have also worked with school- age children from 10 – 19 years leading master-classes as part of the Criw Celf scheme.
I have worked to cross-reference the often divergent activities of teaching, research and making, and this has informed the intention and form of my practice, as it developed active, collaborative and participatory aspects through projects such as Keeper(s) and CIVIC.
Working with Q-Art and other invitations to speak on aspects of my teaching practice have offered opportunities for reflection.
Download Bella Kerr: The Wrong Room (dissertation symposium UWTSD 2014)
Winnicott’s idea of ‘potential space’ is useful when considering the idea of play as a valid approach to learning. R.A. Hodgkin provides a useful explanation:
The things a person plays with can, with practice, become part of some skill and thus eventually assimilated to a general area of competence. However, a toy or ‘play-with‘ (Coleridge) can also be pushed out to the frontier and become what might be termed an ‘explore-with‘. Symbols (in this strong sense of the word) or an original hypothesis or a probe in competent hands would all come into this category. Learning – whether by a child or by an adult – can be seen as an oscillation between play, practice and exploring. In this diagram the teacher is only implied: she makes the space, sustains the dialogue and introduces structures, problems and evaluations.
FIG.1. The Creative Cycle.